How to Plant Holly Bushes


Holly grows naturally on nearly every continent in the world. Most varieties are evergreen and give your garden interest year-round, even when everything else has died. You must plant a male and female holly bush in order to produce the little red berries the plant is known for. Many varieties of holly are only hardy to zone 5 or 6, although some---like blue holly---are able to survive in colder climates.

Step 1

Select a holly variety that will thrive in your climate and be hardy enough to withstand your winters.

Step 2

Choose a location for your holly bushes. Holly likes full sun and well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Add compost or manure to heavy clay soils to improve drainage.

Step 3

Plant holly in the spring or fall. Bushes planted in the spring will have more time for set their roots before winter. For each bush, dig a hole about 1 to 2 feet deep and 2 to 3 feet wide---large enough to accommodate the plant's root-ball.

Step 4

Place the root-ball in the hole. Fill the hole halfway with soil, then water thoroughly. Allow the water to soak into the soil before you finish filling the hole. Tamp the soil around each plant.

Step 5

Mulch around the base of the holly bushes. This keeps the ground moist and prevents weeds from growing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not mulch all the way to the base of the holly bushes. Maintain a space of at least 3 to 4 inches to prevent the growth of mold and discourage disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Compost or manure
  • Mulch


  • How to Grow Holly
  • Plant Care Guide for Holly
  • Care and Cultivation of Holly Trees

Who Can Help

  • How To Tell the Difference Between a Male and Female Holly Bush
Keywords: growing holly, planting holly bushes, holly bushes male female

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.